By George Overhill

13th Jan, 2022 | 2:40pm

Stewart Robertson says away fans at Rangers vs Celtic will not return

Old Firm derbies will continue without any significant presence of away fans according to Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson.

He believes the changes that have been necessary during the Covid-19 pandemic have led to an irreversible change and “the vast majority” want to keep the current arrangement.

To return to a system of large numbers of visiting supporters would now force the removal of home fans.

Speaking on The Athletic podcast, as quoted by The Scotsman, the Ibrox executive said: “The challenge is changing that at the moment because both teams have sold season tickets in those areas and actually it is ‘how do you change that back?’

“Those supporters have renewal rights so it is not something I see changing in the short term.

“The vast majority of our fans don’t want it to change, they are comfortable with it.”

Unique experience

The Old Firm Derby is one of the most famous fixtures in world football and the significance in the city leads to it possessing a unique atmosphere.

But change has been necessary in all areas of life since the beginning of the global pandemic and much will likely turn out to be permanent.

It looks as though the travelling support of Rangers and Celtic in these ties is set to be once of those changes that remains if Robertson’s thoughts are accurate.

While big rivals anywhere are unlikely to admit to actually liking the fans of the opposition, most would at least grudgingly accept that the presence of a sizeable contingent of traveling support can enhance the experience.

But as football clubs have sought to recoup lost revenue in many ways, The Old Firm have done so by increasing the amount of season tickets they have sold.

And season ticket waiting lists are always lengthy at well-supported clubs, so any of those fans who have managed to make it off the top of the list and physically into the stadium on a regular basis will not want to lose that spot.

The clubs are bound to prioritise their own fans over those of their rivals so the current situation looks set to remain for the foreseeable future.

In other Rangers news, the club is looking to move on this pair before the end of the transfer window.